College of San Mateo (9-1) hopes to conclude its most successful modern football campaign with a victory over visiting American River College (8-2) in the Bothman Bulldog Bowl on Saturday, Nov. 23, at 12 noon.
The Bulldogs, the No. 2 community college football team in Northern California,face off against No. 3 American River at College Heights Stadium in the most attractive of the region’s seven bowl games. Only two previous San Mateo teams have won 10 games: The 1982 and 2009 squads posted 10-2 records.
State top-ranked Butte (10-0), the only team to defeat CSM this season, will play for the Northern California championship against North No. 5 Fresno City College (7-3), the Valley Conference champion, on Nov. 30. Only the title teams from those two conferences qualified for the state playoffs. American River led the ValleyConference throughout the season until falling to rival Sierra, 23-13, over the weekend.
CSM (fourth-ranked in the state) completed a 9-1 regular season, 4-1 in the NorCal Conference, with an easier than expected 54-20 triumph over visiting Santa Rosa JC (6-4), which also earned a post-season bowl berth (and rated No. 7 amongNorthern California’s 32 teams). San Mateo has defeated the No. 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 14 teams, which all were awarded bowl spots)!
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the first 20 minutes – scoring all the points they needed. Two of Santa Rosa’s touchdowns came in the fourth quarter.
NAUFAHU CONTINUES RECORD PACE: Sophomore running back George Naufahu (out of San Mateo High) ran for the first two scores and had three touchdowns in the game. That gives him 17 TDs this season, tying current New England Patriots starter Julian Edelman (2005) and state football coaches association hall of famer Mario Ballestrasse (1985) for second on the all-time CSM list. All also have 102 points. The records are 18 touchdowns and 108 points by Sione Tavake in 2003.
Tavake also holds the CSM career record of 29 scores and 174 points. Going into Saturday’s bowl game Naufahu ranks co-No. 3 in TDs with 24 and No. 4 in total points with 144.
NAUFAHU IS CSM’S SIXTH 1,000-YARD RUSHER: Naufahu rushed for 124 yards on 17 carries to become the sixth 1,000-yard rusher in San Mateo’s 92-year football history. He now has 1,037 yards, No. 5 on a list headed by Edelman (1,253 yards); also has 1,558 career yards, co-No. 3 (with Kenny Jackson, 1984-85) on the list topped by Dave Hanson (1,945 in1990-91).
Naufahu set a CSM single game record of 229 yards on Nov. 9 against De Anza College, breaking the mark of 226 yards that had stood since 1987.
11 BULLDOGS RUSH FOR 503 YARDS: Also against Santa Rosa, San Mateo quarterback Casey Wichman ran for 76 yards (including a 30-yard TD) and passed for 66 yards. CSM rolled up 580 yards, 503 on the ground (by 11 different players). Cameron Moody (Menlo-Atherton High and East Palo Alto) had 77 yards, including a 64-yard TD dash in the fourth quarter. Durrell Crooks (St. Francis High and East Palo Alto) had 61 yards and a touchdown. Michael Latu (San Mateo High) had 52 yards and a score.
The game’s longest scoring play was a 74-yard punt return by Quincy Nelson in the third quarter. The versatile sophomore slotback out of Galileo High (San Francisco) also had the game’s only pass interception on defense and caught a 16-yard pass on offense.
On defense, CSM was led by Jake Kearney (Granada, Livermore), with seven tackles, and freshman defensive back Taylor Mashack (Menlo-Atherton) with four.